Mental health and addiction

Mental health and addiction are often found together, each coaxing the other. Sadly, mental health conditions don’t just trigger addiction, they fuel it too with the resulting substance use putting further strain on mental health. Fortunately, undergoing rehab treatment at a professional addiction treatment centre like Banbury Lodge can provide the necessary help and support to overcome addiction with major benefits for co-occurring mental health issues.

Mental health and addiction

What is the link between mental health and addiction?

Addiction and mental health issues often form a vicious cycle, with addiction worsening mental health symptoms and vice versa. Dual diagnosis is a term used to describe the co-occurrence of mental health and addiction disorders. For example, individuals with anxiety or depression may use drugs or alcohol to alleviate their symptoms, leading to addiction. On the other hand, addiction can cause or worsen mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, or schizophrenia. Simultaneous mental health and substance abuse disorders can complicate matters for sufferers, as they require specialised care to address both conditions simultaneously.

Which co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders are most common?

There are many co-occurring mental health conditions which are more common in those with addiction than in the general population. These include:

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ADHD and Addiction

Individuals with ADHD may use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate, leading to addiction. Additionally, addiction-related substance use can exacerbate ADHD symptoms, making it challenging to concentrate or focus causing frustration and further substance use.

ADHD and Addiction →

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Anxiety and Addiction

Anxiety disorders and addiction frequently occur together. Anxiety sufferers may use drugs or alcohol to alleviate their symptoms, leading to addiction while addiction can worsen anxiety symptoms, leading to a vicious cycle.

Anxiety and Addiction →

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Bipolar and Addiction

Bipolar disorder and addiction can often be linked. For example, individuals with bipolar disorder are far more prone to addiction with the resulting substance abuse triggering manic or depressive episodes and worsening the condition.

Bipolar and Addiction →

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BPD and Addiction

Borderline Personality Disorder is a challenging condition that frequently co-occurs with addiction. As with other conditions, individuals with BPD may use drugs or alcohol to try and escape their symptoms which can ultimately lead to addiction..

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Co-Dependency and Addiction

Co-dependency and addiction can often be linked, with examples being one partner enabling the other’s addiction or one person turning to substance use to deal with relationship issues or breakups.

Co-Dependency and Addiction →

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Depression and Addiction

Depression and addiction are closely linked, with individuals using drugs or alcohol to self-medicate their symptoms, leading to a cycle of substance abuse and depression.

Depression and Addiction →

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Schizophrenia and Addiction

Substance abuse and addiction are prevalent among individuals with schizophrenia, with drugs and alcohol exacerbating symptoms of the co-occurring conditions.

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How are addiction and mental health disorders treated?

When it comes to treating addiction with the presence of mental health conditions, it is crucial to ensure that the rigorous nature of addiction treatment doesn’t worsen the co-occurring conditions.

In the first instance, any underlying mental health conditions must be stable before you start rehab. This means getting appropriate prescription mental health medication from your doctor which Banbury Lodge will ensure you receive during your stay.

After that, the great news is that many addiction therapies also have huge benefits for mental health and can help you manage symptoms and improve your overall well-being.

Some of the most effective rehab therapies at Banbury Lodge include:

  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy: CBT can help you identify negative thought patterns and behaviours that lead to/are caused by mental health and addictions. CBT focuses on teaching you how to replace these negative thoughts and behaviours with positive ones. By doing so, you can develop healthier coping mechanisms, reduce the risk of relapse and also gain greater control over your mental health.
  • Dialectical behaviour therapy: DBT combines cognitive-behavioural therapy with mindfulness and acceptance techniques to help individuals manage their emotions. It was actually developed to treat bipolar disorder and so is particularly effective for individuals who struggle with intense emotional experiences. By learning how to manage your emotions through DBT, you can become less reactive, learn to cope in difficult moments without needing drugs or alcohol and increase your chances of successful recovery.
  • Group therapy: Group therapy will provide you with a supportive community of peers who are also in recovery. This can help you feel less isolated during your stay in treatment and enable you to build relationships which is particularly important if you have mental health issues like anxiety. Additionally, group therapy can help you learn from other’s experiences and develop healthy coping mechanisms.
  • Motivational interviewing: This therapy will help you identify your motivations for change and overcome any ambivalence towards addiction and mental health treatment. Motivational interviewing is particularly effective for individuals whose mental health conditions make them nervous or unsure about seeking help.
  • Holistic therapies: In addition to traditional addiction therapies, holistic therapies can also be beneficial in treating addiction with the presence of mental health conditions. Holistic therapies aim to treat the whole person, including their physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Examples of holistic therapies include yoga, meditation, art and sound therapy, all of which can help you manage your symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.
  • Family therapy: Issues with mental health and addictions can have a significant impact on family dynamics, leading to strained relationships and conflict. Family therapy can help improve communication, address underlying issues, and provide a supportive environment for individuals in recovery. Additionally, family therapy can help family members learn how to provide support while setting healthy boundaries.

How to help a loved one with addiction and mental health conditions

Helping a loved one with mental health and addiction conditions can be a challenging and emotional experience. It is essential to approach the situation with empathy and an understanding of the complex issues they are facing. Here are some practical tips on how to support a loved one with addiction and mental health conditions:

Educate yourself

Learn as much as you can about mental health and substance abuse. Understanding the signs and symptoms can help you recognise when your loved one needs help and give you the right strategies for supporting them during the addiction recovery process.

Encourage treatment

Encourage your loved one to seek professional help and offer to assist in finding a suitable addiction treatment centre. Be patient and understanding, as it can take time for someone to be ready for treatment.

Practise self-care

Supporting a loved one with mental health and substance abuse disorders can be stressful and require all your patience and energy. It is, therefore, essential to prioritise your own self-care needs to give yourself the energy and motivation you need to keep going. This can include everything from exercise and meditation to just spending time with friends and family when things get tough.

Set boundaries

While it’s important to provide support, it’s also crucial to set boundaries to avoid enabling addictive behaviours. This may include not giving them money, not making excuses for them and always setting clear expectations for their behaviour.

Offer emotional support

Listening without judgement and offering emotional support can help your loved one feel heard and understood. Encourage them to talk about their feelings and be there for them during difficult times when your presence can provide the reassurance and motivation they need to keep going.

It’s important to remember that supporting a loved one who has issues with their mental health and addiction can be a long and challenging journey. However, by providing support, empathy, and encouragement, you can make a positive difference in their recovery journey.

Mental health and addiction - emotional support

How to get help for mental health and addiction issues

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and mental health issues, seeking professional help is crucial. At Banbury Lodge, have helped many people successfully overcome addiction while at the same time, creating a far more positive outlook for their underlying mental health conditions. Contact us today to find out more about how our team of experienced addiction therapists and medical professionals will work with you to build a brighter future.

Frequently asked questions

Is addiction a recognised mental health disorder?
Yes, addiction is recognised as a mental health disorder by most medical and psychological organisations, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), the DSM-V and the American Psychological Association (APA). Addiction is defined as a chronic disease that affects the brain’s reward, motivation, and memory systems, leading to compulsive substance use or behaviour despite negative consequences.
Is rehab a cure for mental health conditions?
No, rehab is addiction treatment, not a cure for mental health conditions. However, rehab can provide you with the tool, resources and support necessary to manage your addiction, achieve long-term recovery and also see major improvements in your mental health as a result. It is important to note that you will only get out of rehab what you are willing to put in so commit to your addiction treatment programme and you will have the best possible chance of successful long-term recovery.
Are mental health medications addictive?
It depends on the specific medication and how it is used. Some medications used to treat mental health conditions can have the potential for addiction or abuse, especially if they are not taken as prescribed. For example, benzodiazepines, which are commonly prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep disorders, can be highly addictive if taken for an extended period or in high doses. Other medications, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilisers, are not typically addictive but can cause withdrawal symptoms if discontinued abruptly.


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